Abstract

In 2012, the South African Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) initiated a study: Continuation of the Northern Planning Region's All Towns Reconciliation Strategies: Phase 1. This study reviewed, prioritised and updated the rudimentary All Towns strategies initially developed by DWS in 2011. The purpose of the strategies was to reconcile water requirements with available resources for the 2011–2035 planning horizon by estimating the projected water requirements, determining available water resources (surface and groundwater) and developing a water balance. Recommendations were made to conserve, manage and administer local water sources as well as to augment water supplies from other sources if required. The recommendations provided actions and options for implementation by the relevant Water Services Authorities and the DWS at a local and regional level, providing the opportunity for integrated and coordinated planning. Bulk and reticulation metering, the implementation of water conservation and demand management programmes and recommendations on the updating of water use allocations were prioritised. Detailed studies required to determine the most feasible water resource augmentation options to ensure a positive water balance were identified. The study coordinated efforts by officials and stakeholders representing both the water resources and water services sectors. The prioritised strategies defined the deficit or surplus of the water resources per water source on a technical level, but also highlighted the need for planning and coordination between the water resources and water services sectors. The strategies are not legally mandated documents, but represent some of the best efforts spanning across various sectors to realise coordinated water infrastructure planning in DWS’ Northern Planning Region. The use of the documents in the local, district and national planning environments should be promoted for integrated planning, and it may be fitting to incorporate the All Towns Reconciliation Strategy documents as a valuable resource to inform the water legislation currently being reviewed.

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